The strategy, which seeks to build on the continuing theme of inter-agency working and effective training for the work force in order to bolster child safeguarding and child protection strategies was launched in December. In particular, the strategy aims to divert children and young people from the criminal justice system. It is relevant to colleagues working with children and young people in various settings.

Care Services Minister, Phil Hope, has outlined how the strategy will be used to help prevent young people from becoming involved in crime. It focuses on early intervention before issues become entrenched, for example where children and young people exhibit poor behaviour, speech or mental health difficulties.

The strategy highlights the need to:

  • ensure those working with children and young people to get training to spot mental health issues early;
  • that those who are under community or custodial sentences have a healthcare plan, developed alongside their sentence plan;
  • ensure children and young people register with a GP; and
  • improve access to health services on resettlement.

The Department of Health announcement can be accessed here.